New energy – with precision

High-tech energy production with open-die forged parts

Generating energy more efficiently and saving on resources are the major challenges of the future. They are also the challenges being addressed by an ongoing, multi-national research project. Schmiedewerke Gröditz GmbH is involved in working with highly complex open-die parts for what is set to be one of the world’s most significant nuclear fusion reactors.

Innovative capacity and the ability to execute plans quickly are particularly important attributes within the energy sector. After all, there is no other way to find original solutions for the future of high-tech energy production – solutions that are efficient while also conserving resources. Going forward, a technology that is expected to deliver this type of energy is nuclear fusion. It makes use of hydrogen, which is one of Earth’s abundant raw materials. A French research project known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is to work on pioneering solutions in this field in the future. Construction work on this project is currently underway in Cadarache (southern France). The ITER technology simulates the way the sun generates energy. In doing so, it is hoped that we will no longer need to use up Earth’s valuable, non-renewable raw materials as time goes on.

High-precision open-die parts

Schmiedewerke Gröditz GmbH is overseeing key areas of the project. This GMH Gruppe company is supplying open-die forged parts for the nuclear fusion reactor. These pieces must be manufactured with the utmost precision. Since the special products used to generate energy in the reactor need to withstand incredible loads, there can be no compromises in terms of quality either. Thanks to the expertise and commitment of the company’s own specialists, not to mention the cooperation of GMH Gruppe, Schmiedewerke Gröditz GmbH produced 35 forged radial plates in the first phase, each weighing around 25 tonnes. Having proved a reliable supplier of these premium-quality, made-to-measure components, the company was tasked with a follow-up project involving the production of open-die parts for the reactor’s vacuum vessel. These vessels make it possible to access the inside of the reactor for installation and maintenance work without contaminating the plasma or causing tritium to leak out from within.

An outstanding, large-scale project

Of all the nuclear fusion reactors around the world, ITER is the most significant of its kind in terms of both its size and planned output. It is also one of the most significant major projects that Schmiedewerke Gröditz GmbH has been assigned. This is all the more true considering energy machinery is up there with automotive and general/special machine construction as one of the company’s three core areas of focus. In these areas, it is niche applications and special products in particular that set the company apart. In this respect, the clear advantages that this GMH Gruppe company can offer its customers include efficient processes, dimensionally accurate forged parts and the effective use of resources and materials. There are two aspects to the company’s ability to provide the best possible solutions from a single source. Firstly, it forges sophisticated open-die parts for high-tech energy production and fulfils the most demanding technical specifications. Secondly, it benefits from the strong sense of community with an on-site steel plant under the umbrella of GMH Gruppe.